Jordan, Samuel W. (unknown–1841)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: May 25, 2017

Samuel W. Jordan, soldier and adventurer, was a captain in the Texas army from 1836 to 1838. In May 1839 he went to East Texas and participated in campaigns against the Cherokee Indians. He resigned from the army on September 2, 1839. The same year, with the rank of colonel, he and Reuben Ross led 180 Texans to join the Mexican Federalists under Antonio Canales in the effort to establish the Republic of the Rio Grande. Jordan won a victory over the Centralists in the battle of Alcantra, twelve miles southwest of Mier, Nuevo León. In June 1840 he joined Canales again, after which Jordan and his volunteers occupied towns along the Rio Grande and moved into the Mexican interior. He later discovered that Mexican leaders had betrayed him and were directing the Texan forces toward the enemy. The volunteers met Centralist forces in Saltillo and scored a victory against overwhelming odds. They returned to Texas afterwards. In December 1840 Jordan was back in Austin, Texas, when his attempt to kill Sam Houston with an ax was prevented by Adolphus Sterne. In the summer of 1841 Jordan was in New Orleans enlisting men for Mariano Arista's expedition to gain control of Yucatán. When the boat for Yucatán sailed without him and his recruits, Jordan, in a fit of depression, committed suicide by taking an overdose of laudanum on June 22, 1841.

Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of the North Mexican States and Texas (2 vols., San Francisco: History Company, 1886, 1889). Gerald S. Pierce, "The Texas Army Career of Samuel W. Jordan," Texas Military History 5 (Summer 1965). Harriett Smither, ed., "The Diary of Adolphus Sterne," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 30 (October 1926, January, April 1927). Telegraph and Texas Register, June 30, 1841.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Jordan, Samuel W.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 22, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 25, 2017